sport

Leading fancy Jack skips Ascot

Ante-post favourite Quick Jack was a notable absentee from the list of horses confirmed for the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The four-year-old novice, a winner at Cheltenham last month, had been as low as 5-1 with one firm for the valuable two-mile handicap.

The Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 25 and the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 8 are among the options for Tony Martin's charge, before he returns to Prestbury Park for the Festival in March.

"We said we'd leave him for the Boylesports. The owner (John Breslin) will be home. He missed Cheltenham, so we said we'd sit back and wait," said the County Meath handler.

"There's plenty of options - the race in Newbury and the County Hurdle later on. He'll be entered for a few, but we won't run him until the New Year.

"We said we'd give him a bit of a break after Cheltenham. We'll just sit on the fence until the New Year and give him one or two races before Cheltenham in March.

"He'd been on the go since the Galway Festival and he's had plenty of races since then."

There are still two Irish-trained entries after a total of 27 horses stood their ground. They are Gordon Elliott's Flaxen Flare and City Slicker from the Willie Mullins stable.

The weights are now headed by Ptit Zig, a Grade One winner at Auteuil last month. The four-year-old is one of three possibles for Paul Nicholls along with Sametegal and Irish Saint.

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson is also three-handed with Rolling Star, Chatterbox and Snake Eyes.

Leading a team of six left standing from David Pipe's yard is the French import Dell' Arca, who had Sametgal in second place when winning the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on his British debut.

Pipe's other possibles are Shotavodka, Ronaldo Des Mottes, Waterunder, Swing Bowler and Dan Breen.